Fantastic Beasts Team Defends Johnny Depp Casting

Some Potterheads are less than pleased to hear Johnny Depp will be playing archvillain Gellert Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts sequel, but the film’s team is ardently defending their choice.

Fans have complained Depp’s appearance, which was revealed in the final moments of Fantastic Beasts, is too similar to some of his comedic roles. His bleach-blonde hair and pale complexion harken back to The Lone Ranger and Alice in Wonderland, and even a bit of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. But executive producer David Heyman is confident in Depp’s ability to pull off the character.

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(Photo: EW)

“He’s iconic,” said Heyman. “He’s an iconic actor and we needed an iconic actor to play this part. Johnny’s created two or three iconic people, people who are unforgettable. He makes choices, and that was really, really important … [we] wanted somebody who could, in the one hand, seduce, but, on the other hand, be really scary. Johnny can do that. He was an absolute pleasure to work with.”

Even still, Potterheads are reluctant to buy in to Depp’s adaptation just yet. To those people, director David Yates asks for patience.

“You have to trust us and see what he does in this movie,” said Yates. “You won’t see very much in this movie because he appears in it very fleetingly. He appears much more in the second movie. What you have to remember about Johnny is that extraordinary talent and that talent never goes away. Hollywood is such a fickle place. People go up and go down. He’s a huge Potter fan. He loves the world. He was beyond excited about working on this material. In fact he didn’t even want to see a script, he just said ‘I’m in.’”

But the icing on the proverbial cake is Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling’s seal of approval. She’s “delighted” to have Depp on as Grindelwald and says “he’s done incredible things with the character.”

We’ll wait to weigh in until after Fantastic Beast’s sequel comes out and we have a chance to really see how Depp performs, but if his previous roles are any indication to the quality of his upcoming one, we have to admit we’re pretty excited.

MORE HARRY POTTER: Fantastic Beasts, Harry Potter Connections / Daniel Radcliffe On Whether He Would Play Harry Potter Again / Harry Potter Returning To Theaters

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[ H/T EW ]